F40 No. 206 is leading the southbound Shawnee in January 1977 at Champaign, Ill. At the time, this was a crew change location.
It’s January 1977 and I am in Champaign, Ill., to await the arrival of the southbound Shawnee, a Chicago to Carbondale, Ill., train that was part of Amtrak’s original basic system.
The train pulls in, passengers disembark and board, and a new crew takes over. At the time, F40PH No. 206 has been in service less than a year, having been built in March 1976 as part of Amtrak’s original order of F40s.
The F40 did not debut the Phase II livery. That honor went to the P30CH locomotives, the first of which was built in August 1975.
The Amfleet equipment assigned to No. 391 is also fairly new, having been on the train for the past year.
A number of things have changed about this scene and yet some of them remain the same. The Amfleet equipment is still in service, although much of it is assigned to Northeast Corridor service.
Amtrak no longer operates the F40PH as locomotives, but it has converted several of them to non-powered cab units. No. 206 is not among them.
Crews no longer change in Champaign. For several years, the crew district has been Chicago-Carbondale.
The former Illinois Central passenger station seen to the left of the photo still stands, but is no longer used by Amtrak, which moved to an intermodal facility south of the IC depot.
The platforms shown are still in use. The tracks visible to the far right of the image have all been removed. Now owned by Canadian National, the former IC mainline here is now a single track railroad.
As for No. 391, it now operates under the name Saluki on the same schedule of the former Shawnee, a name that Amtrak has retired. The Saluki is funded in part by the State of Illinois.
Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders